NKHANDHLA, ( The Southern African Times) – Former South African president Jacob Zuma on Sunday told hundreds of supporters camped outside his home his rights had been violated as a deadline approached for him to surrender to authorities.
“My constitutional rights were abused” by judges of the country’s constitutional court, said Zuma, who has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after he repeatedly refused to give evidence to corruption investigators.
His supporters have vowed to render South Africa ungovernable if he is jailed.
After sentencing Zuma, the South African court nonetheless agreed to hear his challenge to rescind the order.
A surrender deadline was set to run out on Sunday but 79-year-old Zuma has shown no sign he will hand himself in.
In a show of force, loyalists clad in their African National Congress-ANC regalia have been outside their embattled leader’s Nkandla homestead in Kwa-Zulu Natal province for weeks.
“When I saw the police here I wondered how will they get to me, how will they get through all these people,” Zuma said as he continued to mock South African authorities.
“If (Police Minister) Bheki Cele comes here to arrest uBaba (Zuma) he must start with us,” supporter Lindokuhle Maphalala told AFP.
Police, under orders to arrest Zuma if necessary, were stationed across the province on Sunday to control the crowds descending on Nkandla.
If Zuma fails to turn himself in, police will be given a further three days to arrest him.
Cathleen Powell, a South African law professor, told AFP the decision to hear Zuma’s challenge did not suspend the constitutional court ruling.